In short, as often happens with bonsai, a little water is better than too much. The state of the soil must be checked with a certain periodicity, in order to ensure, among other things, that the water drainage is sufficient: if this were not the case, in fact, there would be the risk of rotting the roots, causing serious damage to the health of the plant. From this point of view, repotting plays a fundamental role, especially for those plants that are purchased in shopping centers, which sometimes – being imported – have an excessively compact and therefore poorly draining soil. Repotting, therefore, becomes essential, even if it is carried out at a time other than the appropriate one: in this situation, a soft repotting can be carried out, that is to say without the roots being exposed. The fertilization of the juniper bonsai it must be performed during vegetation once a month from March to September, in order to integrate the plant’s nutrition. However, it should not be done in July and in the first two weeks of August, that is, during the period with the highest temperatures. As for the type of fertilizer to use, although the granular fertilizer is characterized by a slower absorption, it is preferable to use liquid fertilizer, naturally diluted in the water which will then be used for watering. Previously, we talked about the opportune moment to carry out the repotting: it is placed between the end of autumn and the first days of spring, in correspondence with the vegetative rest period, simultaneously, if possible, with pruning. When replacing the soil, you need to make sure that the new pot is suitable for the size of the plant. The drainage holes must be protected with crushed stone or by covering them with a grid. The purpose of this action is to give rise to a sort of protection against the physiological dispersion of the soil that occurs during watering. Furthermore, the need to guarantee protection against attacks by parasites and animals should not be underestimated.
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The composition of the substrate, in order to ensure adequate drainage, must provide fifty percent universal soil, ten percent peat and forty percent sand. On the occasion of repotting, on the other hand, it is also possible to resize the entire root mass, cutting the most voluminous roots in order to leave room for the most important capillaries for the nutrition of the plant. Pruning also plays an essential role in the growth of juniper bonsai: training pruning, which serves to ensure that the plant takes on the desired shape, is accompanied by maintenance interventions, the aim of which is to fix the result obtained. In practice, it is necessary to eliminate the diseased, broken or irregular branches, using specific tools and above all very sharp blades.
In fact, it is advisable that the cuts made are clean, free of burrs, in order to reduce the risk of infections: to create protection against parasites, moreover, the cuts must be covered using healing mastic, which also serves to make faster healing. While topping and pinching favor the vegetative balance during the vegetative period, the application of tie rods and wires can be useful to give the trunk and branches the desired conformation: in short, giving life to a more pleasant posture from the point of aesthetic view. The ideal solution, of course, is to operate on the younger branches, which are more flexible and are more sensitive to any corrections. It is sufficient, therefore, to use copper wires, a material that can be easily bent, with a diameter of two or three millimeters, coated with rubber in order to prevent the bark of the branches from being damaged in the anchoring points. The plant should be watered a few hours before intervening, so as to improve the flexibility of the points where you want to intervene and avoid sudden breakages. Finally, bitter enemies of juniper bonsai are the red spider and the cochineal.
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